CHAPTER 1: BIRTHDAY PRESENTS'Mother, I'm so confused,' she whispered to the moon.
For several weeks now, Serena had been dreaming of a tall man with thick black hair. She could see the outline of his muscular build and when he held her, melted in the strength of his arms. It was those nightly visions that had her doubting a future with her Earth prince. At first, not much thought was put into them until those dreams became too real. She could feel him, she could hear the man in the shadows, smell him and it was not Darien. Whoever it was knew her intimately and had a very close relationship with her. Serena didn't know until she and Darien broke up the second time that he had been having similar dreams about someone who wasn't her. No anger or frustration was involved...only confusion. How could she fall in love with a dream?
It was on her 18th birthday, a month and a half ago, that the dreams began.
Serena was sitting at her window, having a one-sided conversation with the moon. Since the time it was discovered that she was the lost Princess of the Moon, Serena had been doing her best to fulfill her destiny. As the Moon Princess, she was to inherit the Silver Crystal and begin building a new life for all mankind, a beacon of light in the dark age of man. Under the full light of the moon, Serena's powers were at their fullest and when she looked up at it, the round satellite looked brighter than usual and had three rings around it. How odd.
The moon in all its glory and mystery sat in the sky, looking upon its child on earth. A small light darted through the darkness towards a two-story house where a lost princess sat on her windowsill.
Serena saw a shooting star and closed her eyes to make a wish. Just as she had done that she felt power, a strong force coming towards her and opened her eyes again. The star was coming closer and Serena froze, afraid that it was going to hit her house and destroy her neighborhood as she'd seen in movies. Whatever it was stopped right in front of her window where she was nestled on the sill and twirled about until big blue eyes realized what it was. The Imperium Silver Crystal! As Serena reached for it, it flew into her chest, knocking the wind out of her. The force of it pushed her off her perch and onto her bed, which luckily for her was right under the window.
Serena gasped as the crystal shattered and spread its energy throughout her body, causing her to tingle with the power of the stone as it merged with every organ and cell. After the shock of what could have not possibly happened, a strange itching sensation made its way to her shoulder blades. Serena picked up a back scratcher from her nightstand and scratched until it became painful. It felt like someone had a knife to her back and was slowly slicing it open. She wanted to scream to take away from the pain but only a gasp escaped.
On the floor, Serena cradled her head in her hands as the pain rose from her back to her head in mere seconds. She could hear the flapping of wings but the pain was too intense for her to think of the possibility that birds could have flown in through the window. She looked behind her to where the sound was coming from and would have screamed again if the shock weren't so strong. Two beautiful white wings had emerged from her back and were stretching from wall to wall in her 10 ft. by 10 ft. bedroom. Serena did her best to calm herself, but wings? All thought processes stopped as the last part of her transformation was realized. With a curious hand, she reached out to touch her new appendages. Quicker than lightning, she pulled her hand back in front of her and saw her own blood trickling from her finger. The feathers were as sharp as blades.
Every night since her birthday, Pluto had been training Serena at midnight to familiarize her with her new gifts. She was wisely instructed to tell no one about her 4-hour long training sessions, it was simply not the right time. Because waking up late and constantly being late was the norm for the 18-year old, unwanted questions and probing from others weren't problems.
The training had lasted for two months before Pluto told her that they would no longer meet like did. She needed to apply what she had learned in training in the battles that her enemies would bring. In those she would learn more.
Pluto gave the young woman a hug and whispered, "good luck, princess. We shall meet again when it is time."
The last bit of Pluto's farewell training had been the harshest of them all and the second Serena's head hit the pillow and her eyes closed, her communicator beeped. Serena arrived at the scene of the attack within minutes of being informed and not too happy at that. She would show no mercy to the creature that was robbing her of her precious sleep!
Mars was shocked to see her leader at the scene of the attack. It usually took Sailor Moon quite some time to get there, especially if she had to be stirred awake from her sleep of the dead. The red senshi watched as her leader landed in a nearby tree and watched with careful eye the creature that was attacking her friends. Was that really Sailor Moon? The Sailor Moon she knew would be stumbling around, groggy from an abrupt awakening. And what was she doing watching instead of almost getting killed by her own carelessness? Something wasn't right.
The scouts were standing in shock, watching Sailor Moon put up a pretty good fight against the monster. Dodge-kick. Duck-punch. Neither was winning nor losing at this point.
Sailor Moon thought to get the monster away from her friends so she lured it to a treed area and hid. She would tease the monster in and out of hiding but it eventually lost its patience with its prey. It turned its head to the next available victim, paying no attention to the hits Moon was sending it with some of her dagger-like feathers that were pulled out of her sleeves.
Without warning, a red beam shot from the youma's withered finger and hit Venus square in the chest. Sailor Moon was nearly sick with dread and rushed to her fallen friend, first sending more feather daggers at the back of the monster's head. When she got there, blood was already staining Venus' white fuku, there was too much of it escaping! She saw the monster preparing to attack someone else and couldn't yell in time to warn its target, Mars. The Fire scout turned just in time to see the attack hit her. Her body was blown to where Moon was trying to help Venus
Jupiter had been injured before Sailor Moon had shown up and was now limping to the side thanks to the help Mercury was giving her. Mercury, having never been very strong with physical attacks, was doing her best to find a weakness in the hellish monster while holding up the green scout.
The monster was about to unleash an attack on them when Sailor Moon countered and beat the monster mercilessly. Red was the only color she could see and soon it covered the ground. After being knocked down she realized all her energy had gone into that bit of rage. She no longer had the strength to protect or even use the moon wand.
Memories flashed before her mind of when they all first met, slumber parties, study attempts, times when they just sat and talked and times when they cried. A new power filled her heart and body and she didn't even realize she was glowing.
Serena could hear her friend's last words. "You're ready."
Jupiter, Mercury and Tuxedo Mask watched in fascination as Moon's hair and eyes turned silver. Jupiter shivered and noticed that the wind's speed picked up along with any debris around the glowing Champion of Justice. She slowly lifted her hand with her palm facing the ugly beast.
A white and deadly energy left her hand in the form of a ring and flew at the creature, wrapping around its body and tightening. The monster was being slowly constricted and it was obvious the amount of pain it was in from the loud wailing sounds that filled the area. The wind picked up speed as her power increased and with one last scream, the youma exploded within the bounds of its white prison.
As soon as Sailor Moon made sure it was in fact destroyed, she turned her attention to her injured friends. Mars was now sitting over Venus' body, applying pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding while pushing aside her own pain. It wasn't working too well and she was crying for her dying friend who was convulsing from lack of blood. Sailor Moon knelt beside Venus and placed her hand over Mars'. Healing light was transferred from Sailor Moon to the people touching her and at the last minute, she let go, leaving her with just enough to stay conscious.
Serena slowly took Mars' hands away to reveal no wound or blood on either Venus, Mars, or herself. With her attention focused on healing her friends, she didn't see the evil man who appeared in the sky above them.
"SAILOR MOON! WATCH OUT!" Jupiter yelled.
Tuxedo Mask, Jupiter, and Mercury watched helplessly as the floating figure shot a ball of dark energy towards Sailor Moon. She looked up in time to see it heading straight for her and her friends and closed her eyes tightly, awaiting the impact.
The attack hit her and the dark energy faded away as light replaced it. Mercury latched on to Jupiter and hid her face, not wanting to see the mess of mangled bodies that would appear once the smoke cleared. Tuxedo Mask stayed hidden in the nearby tree, not wanting to give away his position, yet horrified that he didn't fulfill his duty of protecting Sailor Moon and the girl he was beginning to have feelings for. He wiped away a stray tear and then noticed that the white glow he had seen during impact hadn't dulled at all. As the area began to clear, he could make out a white shield that looked as if it protected them. With a closer look, he noticed that there were lines and shapes in that shield. It began to expand and it opened to reveal that they were, in fact, wings!
Jupiter whispered for the crying Mercury to look up and when she did, she saw the most beautiful thing ever.There was Serena, kneeling on the ground over her friends with her white wings spread out away from her body and silver hair dancing in the dying wind.
Serena turned her head and her cold silver glowing eyes met those of her attacker.
"HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE? THAT WAS MY MOST POWERFUL ATTACK!"
The Sailor Soldier slowly rose and turned to him. She replied in a cold tone, so unlike herself, "You won't live long enough to find out." Serena lifted her hand once more to face, Kaelite who was one of the several henchmen that had tried to destroy the earth many times. 5 bright rings shot from her hands and attached themselves around his legs, arms and neck. He tried desperately to disappear the same way he appeared, but was trapped. He couldn't leave. The light wouldn't allow it.
Serena slowly closed her hand, like she remembered doing while in training, and the rings shrunk. Kaelite, screamed from the pain of the light surrounding which was burning him. It was the way most creatures of the dark responded to light. The rings grew in size to encompass his whole body and now he covered by it, not an inch of darkness left open. The glow lessened in intesity until it was no more. Serena's hand was now a fist. The last of the light disappeared, taking Kaelite with it.
Serena collapsed into the arms of Tuxedo Mask who expected she would be drained by now. He carried her back home while Lita and Ami made sure that Raye and Mina got home safely.
As Serena began to dream, swirls of mist surrounded her. She found herself walking towards a dim light in the distance and as she got closer, the light became brighter until she could make out the silhouette of a woman.
"Mother?" Serena ran into Queen Serenity's open arms.
"Oh, my beautiful daughter." The Queen squeezed Serena to her and tried not to think of how mature looking she was now.
"Mother...why am I here? Better yet, where is here?"
Serenity just smiled down at her daughter. "We're at the Gates of Time. Pluto and I arranged for a little meeting. I'm sorry, but this is going to be very short." Serena knew that there must have been a reason she was able to see her mother and be with her. That was usually the reason for her visits. "First, I wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday and secondly, I want to explain the changes you've been going through. On your birthday the crystal became one with you and the tingling sensations that you felt was the crystal becoming a part of your structural make-up. It shattered after entering your body and fused with your cells, which will enhance your abilities and will make you stronger in mind and body."
Serena could clearly remember the first night she had used her powers while training with Pluto. The strength was almost too much for her to handle until she learned how to reserve her energy. Until she had learned how to use and conserve it, she had always over exerted herself and her energy, leaving her drained and unable to defend herself afterwards.
"Mother, what happened between Darien and I? I thought we were destined to be together. I keep having dreams of someone else but why?"
"Serena," her mother said while stroking her hair, "destinies change. It is not a living organism and cannot create things. People create destinies. I cannot tell you what is happening between you and Prince Darien because I do not fully understand myself. The crystal works in mysterious ways. I believe that when it is time to know, the crystal will reveal what you cannot figure out."
"The main reason that I have come was to warn you. With great good there comes great opposition. In the history of the crystal, once it is inherited and once the power has been accepted and the crystal is diving into it's hidden power, it seems to attract evil. You are the most powerful in our line next to Selene, the moon goddess. I am sorry to have to put you through this my love but it is part of the burden that our line must carry." She looked onto her daughter with sadness, but only saw determination set in her eyes.
"What must I do?"
If only Serena knew her own strength. "There is somewhere you can go for training if you wish. You will live with some friends of mine in another dimension and there you will train with a group of men who are the most powerful beings of their kind. They will teach you how to fight and use the new powers that you have."
'Another dimension? Cool!' "When do I go?" Serena's eyes were lit up and her hands clasped in front of her. If there's anything that Serena couldn't pass up, it was an adventure. And she really needed a break from all this fighting. But then who would protect earth?
"I was hoping that would be your reaction. We could leave at the end of this week, Saturday night at 7:33. Just go to the temple and wait there for Pluto, she will come and get you. Don't worry about bringing anything because everything will be provided for you. You're welcome to bring pictures with you if you wish, but that is all you will need and be allowed to take."
"How long will I be gone?"
"I am not sure. You may be gone for years."
Serena's face fell at this news. How could she stay away from her friends and family for so long?
"What about my family?"
Serenity's eyes fell a little. "I'm sorry love, but for the sake of all, they won't remember you. When you come back to stay, we can restore some memories if you wish. When you leave, the only people who will retain memories of this place will be you, Prince Darien and your court.
"Not even Molly?"
"No my dear. Unfortunately, Molly won't remember either."
Serena thought about coming home and not having anyone remember her. Her best friends, the scouts, would remember, but the family that she grew up with and loved wouldn't remember her at all. If it meant the safety of the universe though, she would have to sacrifice something.
"What about this planet? Won't it need protection? What happens if I leave it?"
"Do not worry about them. The scouts will be able to handle them with the help of your Outer guardians. By the time you are needed, you will be strong enough to defeat them."
Her dream ended with tears of departure, but she was happy that she got to see her mother. She could hear her whispering, "I love you," as her dream became dark again, welcoming her back into reality.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
Serena shot straight up and groaned as she fudged around for her alarm clock's snooze button. "Stupid dreams."